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March 22, 2007 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-22

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WHAT'S GOING ON AT THE HALFASS? PAGE 3B

LOCAL DIRECTOR COMES HOME WITH STAR PAGE 3B
.B
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2007

RIAA's
failure to
adapt
W th the recent RIAA
crackdown on Uni-
versity students, the
morality of file sharing has been a
hot topic. On the surface it seems
pretty simple: It's wrong - don't
do it. Unfortunately, the issue isn't
so black and
white for those
of us who grew
up in the digi-
tal age.
Download-
ing music
illegally is
stealing.
Every mp3 is
a composi- LLOYD
tion someone CARGO
poured a piece
of themselves
into, and when
you take it for free, you're pirating
their livelihood. But still, I do it
occasionally, and I suspect a lot of
the rest of you do, too.
It's not our fault really, either
- it's the culture we grew up in.
I remember when Napster first
started to blow up; and I don't
recall ever questioning whether
it was right or wrong; at 13, I had
other issues on my mind. And
with dial-up, we were talking
a couple hours for a song, and
downloading whole albums was
essentially out of the question.
Now with cable Internet and bit
torrent, you
can have
an artist's
entire
catalogue Tired of hearing
in the time everyone bitch
it takes about the RIAA?
to make a For a different
sandwich. perspective, "A
Is that modest defense
any worse
than your of the RIAA," log
friend on to
burning you michigandaily.
a box set? I com.
don't really
see how it is, and no one seems to
object to receiving a burned CD.
I suspect that has something to
with the baby-boomer generation
growing up making each other
dubs of tapes, partnered with the
guilt-easing knowledge that your
friend paid for it (or someone
down the line did).
With downloading the blood is
on your hands (or rather, your IP
address) and I don't have a whole
lot of sympathy for people who get
caught and prosecuted. Everyone
knows it's illegal, but the risk of
actually getting caught is so low
that it's not much of a deterrent.
But that doesn't mean what the
RIAA is doing is any less shitty or
stupid.
The recording industry needs
to get with the times. Download-
ing has gashed their bottom lines,
but it's not going to stop, and it's
going to have to be them that
adapts. CD pricing is finally start-
ing to fall, but until the major
labels embrace the Internet the
way the indies have then sales are
* going to continue to tank. Fur-
ther alienating your consumers
by suing them isn't a great way
to garner goodwill and loyalty
either.
Digital is the future, and while
people tend to want to own a

physical product after shelling
over their hard-earned money, the
convenience of iTunes is impos-
sible to ignore. And with iPods
being more ubiquitous than Dis-
cmans or Walkmans ever were,
the mp3 has become the format
of choice for seemingly everyone
under 40. The analogy between
See CARGO, page 4B
lIST
March 22 to 25
The Daily Arts
guide to the
best upcom-
* ing events - it's
everywhere you
should be this
week and why.

AAFF returns, free of
censorship, for year
45 of experimental
competition
By KRISTIN MacDONALD
Associate Arts Editor
The Ann Arbor Film Festival kicked off
Tuesday night with cocktails, coffee and Stuc-
chi's ice cream only to quickly add provocative
filmmaking to its list of stimulants. This is
the AAFF, a five-day fiesta of all things avant-
garde and a proudly surviving vestige of Ann
Arbor's more progressive-minded past.
The screening began with an earnest trib-
ute to deceased AAFF participant Helen Hill,
a one-time Festival judge and lifelong film-
maker, and the Festival couldn't have selected
a more appropriate start than the presentation
of Hill's quirky 16mm introduction to amateur
filmmaking. The short film not only combined
animation, live action and gentle humor to
outline the medium's different formats (and
home-bathroom darkroom techniques) but
spoke to the dedication and can-do spirit
required of independent filmmakers to realize
their art. Filmmaking's a fun process, but it's
a demanding one, too, and the piece honored
the commitment of these self-reliant artists as
much as its inclusion honored one such artist
in particular.
For the AAFF not only showcases the best
of independent film from the world over but
strives to develop a supportive community for
those filmmakers as well. This week's AAFF
schedule features much more than just short
film screenings, with several filmmaker spot-
lights, public lectures and Q & As and even a
party or two. There's also a special program
planned to introduce wary newcomers to the
admitted obtuseness of experimental film
- a panel discussion self-mockingly entitled
"What the Hell Was That?"
After all, independent film's reputatiop for -
obliqueness is not entirely undeserved. One
piece in Tuesday night's line-up was practi-
cally the definition of esoteric: a single six-
minute shot of Russian writer Maxim Gorky's
1896 review of an early Lumiere brothers' film,
slowly dissolving on what looked like a can of
paint (turn-of-the-century intellectualism lit-
erally visualized as watching paint dry).
This is not pure cinema. This is plain old
art, in a medium that provides a seemingly
endless opportunity for fresh expression,
and the AAFF, by projecting these impossibly
diverse pieces in the cavernous grandeur of
The Michigan Theater, offers an all-too-rare
way td'experience it.
. The prominent back story of this year's
festival is then all the more baffling. Ordered
by the state of Michigan in a well-publicized
battle to rein in its controversial content or
face funding cuts, the festival boldly chose the
latter, cutting ties with the government rather
than censor its material. It's the state that's
losing out. In a fight over First Amendment
rights, the AAFF promises to be a lively oppo-
nent, with indignation to spare and the ACLU
as back-up (as well as, apparently, friends with
pocketbooks).
See AAFF; page 4B

Making the
perfect violin

By KIMBERLY CHOU
Associate Arts Editor
You can find them working
together in the cozy cedar studio
every few weeks: the older gentle-
man physicist and the ponytailed
violinmaker, experimenting with
filters, electric violins and, when
fortune allows, the occasional
Stradivari violin, the gold stan-
dard of wood-body violins.
To an outsider the union of a
scientist and luthier may seem
like an odd pairing. But the part-
nership of Prof. Gabriel Weinreich
and Joseph Curtin may be exactly
what the violin-making commu-
nity needs in its strides to craft
an instrument finer than those of
Stradivari or Guarneri del Gesi,
the revered masters of the centu-

ries-old tradition.
As individuals, the two are cer-
tainly impressive on their own.
Weinreich taught physics at the
University for 30 years before
he retired in 1995; after retire-
ment, he published his landmark
paper on instruments' directional
tone color. Curtin, a well-known
violinmaker who is quickly
approaching his third decade of
lutherie, received a prestigious
MacArthur fellowship - the foun-
dation's "genius grant" - in 2005.
His work and that of other violin-
makers around the globe was pro-
filed in a New York Times article
late last year about advanced
approaches to violinmaking.
In a project they've been devel-
oping for the past two years,
Weinreich and Curtin have been

Gabriel Weinreich (left) and Joseph Curtin record impulse responses from a Curtin-made violin.

working to figure out why, in Cur-
tin's words, good violins sound
good.
"I had (already) been working
on violins for some time," Wein-
reich said. "What I saw as a gen-
eral problem in violin design (was
the lack of) a standard you can call
scientific ... the only way to define
what you mean by a good violin is
to give an example."
Said Curtin: "How do you get

the sound of a great violin? You
can try doing it by building a vio-
lin, or you can go after it using
electronics and software. The
advantage to this approach is that
once youhave captured the sound,
you know what you have. It's not
just some lucky combination of
wood and glue and varnish."
It's not every day that a master
violinmaker and premier physi-
cist in violin acoustics happen to

both reside in Ann Arbor.
In their quest to be able to cre-
ate a violin with the best possible
sound, the longtime friends came
together to put the characteris-
tics of a good violin into an elec-
tric violin. Curtin expressed it in
more specific terms: "I am inter-
ested in building ... an electric vio-
lin together with a programmable
See VIOLIN, page 4B

ON SCREEN
There's going to be something a little
strange going on at midnight this week-
end at The Michigan Theater. On Friday
and Saturday the theater will screen
two films from Alejandro Jodorowsky,
a New Age artist known for his unique
vision of psychological exploration.
"El Topo" will screen on Friday night,
a beautiful rendition of '60s spaghetti
westerns, and on Saturday night, "The
Holy Mountain," a mix of sharp sar-
casm, and drug-trip-esque imagery.

ON STAGE
Student-run opera troupe MUS-
KET will perform Stephen Sond-
heim's "Assassins" this weekend,
tracing the lives of history's most
famous assassins - among them
John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey
Oswald - and asking the audience
to consider the possible motivations
behind their atrocious acts. At the
Power Center: Friday and Saturday
at 8 p.m, Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are
$13, or $7 with student ID.

IN CONCERT
Seattle-based band The Long
Winters will play The Blind Pig on
Sunday night, highlighting 2006's
Putting the Days to Bed, their newest
collection. Songwriter John Roder-
ick is known for his addictive lyrics
complementedbyalonglistofinstru-
mentalists that provide complex and
layered melodies. With opening acts
Bound Stems and Stars of Track and
Field. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Tick-
ets are $12, 18+ only.

CULTURE FEST
This weekend Matsuri, the 16th
annual Japan Culture Festival spon-
sored by the Japan Student Associa-
tion, will feature several dance and
musical performances, a tea cer-
emony, a wide array of food choices
including wanko-soba and a toy
shop. The performances will range
from traditional koto music to Japa-
nese hip-hop. Saturday from 2:00 to
6:00 p.m. in the East Hall Atrium, $1
admission.

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